Role of the IC
The strength of Impact Ventures UK lies in our people, including our experienced portfolio managers, partners and the pro-bono members of IVUK’s Investment Committee, who provide their critical expertise to advance the ambitions of our investees as well as IVUK’s vision.
The seven-member group, led by Dr. Alexander Leeb, Chairman of the IC and the LGT Venture Philanthropy Foundation, offers a wealth of social enterprise know-how and connections to extend supply chains, expand growth, and enhance leadership. The experience of the IC members spans several industries, including philanthropy, strategy consulting, investment, financial services, technology, Internet start-ups, as well as social enterprise.
Diverse Backgrounds, One Common Vision
“The IC members come from very different backgrounds, but they are all committed to social impact,” says Alexander. “Some are hard-nosed investors and some are experts in social impact. Some know the UK market very well while others are international.” It’s this diverse mix of expertise and experience, he says, that is the IC’s hallmark. “It’s a very heterogeneous group, and from my experience, these groups get the best results. When the IC reaches a conclusion on a social enterprise we know it’s a good investment.”
There are two critical services the IC provides that sets them apart from other social impact investors: First, the members inform the rigorous selection process and make the final decision on investments. Second, they offer valuable support to investees.
Because of their significant involvement in the selection process, the IC members are invested every step of the way in seeing the success of the portfolio. “In this process we use the proven methods developed by LGT Impact to select the investees,” says Alexander. The personal and professional investment of IC members reflects their individual commitment to the success of IVUK and each of its investees. “We are guardians of our investments and our investees and investors.”
“The way we structure the funding of our investments and our ongoing participation with our investees is intended to help them grow, flourish and generate sufficient commercial returns to ensure ongoing innovation and resilience for the long-term,” said Susannah Nicklin, IC member who is an investor and entrepreneur.
Driving Social Innovation for the Future
IVUK is driven by a social mission but is managed as a tight commercial operation, according to Nick Jenkins, who founded Moonpig, a popular online greeting card and gift company, and who now runs his own small venture capital fund. “We offer a huge amount of experience of supporting fast-growing commercial ventures in the form of non-executive directors,” he says. “Effectively the Investment Committee offers access to a high-level management consultancy that comes free with the investment.”
“We are able to offer a level of networks that others can not: corporate sector connections, LGT’s global network, and access to the tech world, for example,” says Liam Black, a veteran social entrepreneur and co-founder of Wavelength, who helped launch Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, a social enterprise that gives job training to disadvantaged people. “I’ve asked the IC to really bring our networks and be systematic about how we leverage our networks to benefit investees.”
Collectively the IC hopes to leave a lasting legacy on the social enterprise market, mainstreaming social impact investing and interest in supporting ambitious businesses solving tough social issues.
“We want lasting, sustainable social interventions that fundamentally transform outputs as well as outcomes,” says Audrey Selian, who serves as director for a philanthropic programme that supports investment in rural enterprise in India. “And we want these interventions to set a vitally important example for redefining success for the investment communities in Western Europe and beyond.”